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AK vs AK Web Review: An edge-of-the-seat, cat-and-mouse game

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AK vs AK Web Review: An edge-of-the-seat, cat-and-mouse game

Vijayalakshmi Narayanan

Director : Vikramaditya Motwane

Genre : Thriller

Our rating :

Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, 'AK vs AK', starring Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap, is a delicious hybrid of fact and fiction with both men playing larger-than-life, exaggerated version of themselves, who are pitted against each other in this colourful clash of egos.

The film begins with Kapoor and Kashyap having an ugly spat on a public forum, following years of bitterness and resentment because the former refused to star in the latter's initial films, 'Allwyn Kalicharan' and 'Grant Hotel'. Kashyap vows revenge and decides to kidnap Kapoor's daughter Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and shoot the latter's desperate search in real-time, as his next feature film. This sets the two gentlemen against each other in a game of one upmanship.

Written by Motwane and Avinash Sampath, the concept behind merging fan-based perceptions of both the men alongwith insider jokes to hold a mirror against their conflicting ideologies can be extremely tricky, but somehow, both writers pull this off, seamlessly. For Kashyap, who is also credited with writing the dialogues of the film, this is not a mean feat. It's a far bigger risk for Kapoor Sr. who is putting a reputation acquired over four decades at stake. Even in his most radically negative roles, rarely have we seen the actor mouth such brazen, unabashed lines. 'AK vs AK' allows the actor to break that mould. Shot by Swapnil Sonawane in guerilla style, the film appears to be visually taxing, hence, it can become hard for viewers to hold attention to what's happening before them. Although, with the able use of the background music by Alokananda Dasgupta, the tension captured is palpable. You're constantly kept guessing and glued till the end credits are rolled. The film largely benefits from the Yo Mama potshots taken between the leading men and the fleeting references thrown at other actors and directors.

The film is further lifted by the impressive theatrics displayed by both actors to their best abilities. It's fitting that the film's release co-incides with the birthday of Kapoor Sr. The actor offers a no-holds barred performance that may silence all his detractors who often question him over his commercial leanings. It is a gentle reminder that experience will always topple expertise. Kashyap embraces his part with the right amount of menace and sliminess. His is the kind of a character that you'd love to hate. Yogita Bihani as Kashyap's cinematographer is a great find. As the naiumlve, enthusiastic film professional, she serves as a great propeller to the narrative. The film also benefits from significant cameos, especially Harshvardhan Kapoor, who is surprisingly over-the-top and animated, a side that is unknown to many, on and off-screen. Watch out for him in a scene where he curses Motwane for the debacle that was 'Bhavesh Joshi Superhero'. Even Nawazuddin Siddiqui (in just a voiceover) upends his most famous catchphrase from 'Sacred Games' with a twist that will leave you in splits.

'AK vs AK' is not a self-indulgent exercise. It's self-referential and to a certain extent, self-depreciating too. But it's immensely entertaining for the solid chemistry shared between the two leads, making it a recommended watch, the festive weekend.

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